ALAMEDA – There won’t be a quarterback guessing game in Oakland this week.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen confirmed the expected Monday, declaring Terrelle Pryor the starter for Sunday’s home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars after Pryor’s strong performance Sunday in Indianapolis.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars’ starting quarterback job grew less stable. The team announced that starter Blaine Gabbert won’t play due to a hand injury suffered in his team’s opener. Instead, Jacksonville will go with Chad Henne, who relieved an injured Gabbert early in a game against the Raiders in Oakland last season.
Pryor passed for 217 yards and rushed for a league-high 112 yards in the Raiders 21-17 loss to the Colts. He was intercepted twice, including on the Raiders final play deep in Colts territory.
“The great ones find a way to get in the end zone in the clutch,” Pryor said Monday. “I missed out on that. I wasn’t so great (Sunday).”
Pryor started only one game his first two NFL seasons. He received the nod against the Colts based on the fact he outperformed Matt Flynn during exhibition games.
He called his performance Sunday “awful.” Allen said that shows Pryor’s passion and dedication. Just the same, there’s plenty of room for improvement.
“I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he was awful,” Allen said Monday, “but he also understands that there’s some critical mistakes in the game that we got to get corrected because we can’t have those.”
– Running back Darren McFadden managed only 48 yards rushing and averaged 2.8 yards on his 17 carries.
Even so, Allen said he remains convinced that McFadden is on the verge of a breakout season.
“I’m not concerned with who gets the yards,” Allen said. “We were able to run and run effectively. Darren’s going to get his touches. Darren’s going to get his yards.”
Allen said there were some “opportunities” for the Raiders to spring McFadden for long runs. That failed to materialize, for one reason or other.
Last season, McFadden averaged a career-low 3.3 yards rushing. A switch from a zone-blocking scheme to a power-blocking scheme is expected to benefit McFadden.
“I’m still pleased with where Darren is.” Allen said. “I still think he’s going to have a good year.”
– First-year player Marquette King replaced veteran Shane Lechler this season not only as the Raiders punter but as their holder on field-goal and extra-point attempts.
Kicker Sebastian Janikowski worked exclusively with Lechler from 2000-12. He said this offseason that he and King concentrated on getting in synch.
On Sunday, Janikowski missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt. King after the game accepted blame.
Not so fast, Allen said.
“The hold was fine,” Allen said. “SeaBass just missed the kick. That’s something he doesn’t do often.”
To that end, Allen said, King and Janikowski will spend more time working together to lessen the likelihood of any issues cropping up.
– The Raiders offensive line allowed only one sack Sunday and held up pretty well, by most accounts, despite two new starters and Khalif Barnes moving from right tackle to left.
“All things considered, a pretty good overall performance for the O-line in the first (game),” center Stefen Wisniewski said.
Allen said the offensive line held up its end.
“For mixing and matching some guys and moving some guys around … I was pleased with the way the offensive line played,” Allen said.
– Strong safety Tyvon Branch emerged from the Colts game with a sore shoulder. Allen said none of his other players suffered serious injuries.
– Pryor leads the league in rushing after his 112-yard effort Sunday. Also, Pryor was one of only two players that rushed for 100 yards or more through Sunday’s games.